Opinion: Newton should build a new skate park


MTB Project

It has been more than 20 years since the city of Newton tore down the old “DIY” skatepark the local skateboarders made, with wood and metal, and also added manufactured premade metal ramps and rails.

The city might think this is an upgrade, but most of the skateboarding community thought it was a downgrade, mostly because the old “DIY” skatepark was original and nothing was like the current one. There are premade metal ramps around the U.S., just like the ramps at the Newton skate park, bringing no originality to the skate park.

Julion Spenecer, a local Newton skateboarder that has been skating in Newton for over 20 years, shared his experience of skating at the old skatepark.

“The ramps were built out of wood and there were people always there skating them,” Spenecer said.

After adding the premade ramps, there was a significant drop in skaters because of the lack of originality. Skaters started to migrate to the Wichita skate park because it was made out of concrete and had more obstacles.

Since then, the Newton skate park has not been the same. There are people that still skate here, but it is a lot less than it was about two decades ago. Since then, the city has tried to add things to help, like three new rails and cement around the skate park. However, none of these upgrades seemed to increase the skate community members skating in the Newton skate park.

The ramps aren’t the only problem with the skate park. The ground of the skate park has cracks and there are always twigs or pine cones because of the two pine trees on each side of the skate park. With the combination of twigs, pine cones and cracks, there is a high chance a wheel is bound to hit one of these things, causing a fall.

The city has tried to help this issue by cutting down a surrounding tree just a few months ago. However, the cracks in the ground have appeared to be a bigger problem because they can’t be swept aside. The city needs to fill in the cracks.

If the city of Newton built a new skate park, I feel like that would drastically change the number of skateboarders in Newton. Specifically, a concrete skate park would increase the number of skaters because concrete would be of higher quality and it would last longer.

The city needs to, at the very least, clean up the skate park. Filling in the cracks would be the first step, but trimming the trees that hang over the skate park would also help. Doing these small things could really make a long-term impact.

If the city of Newton could make these small revisions to help, hopefully with some time and money, the city could build a new skate park that is safer and more enjoyable for the skateboarders.